My Review of Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness

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Info from Goodreads

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

Hardcover, 584 pages – Published July 10th 2012 by Viking Adult

4/5 stars

This book deserves a Wow as well. Forgive me as I stumble over reviewing this because I’m not so sure how to do so without spoiling some of the first book. It’s like seeing a preview to a movie sequel before you’ve seen the first one, now you definitely know that one lady lives because she’s in the second trailer. So then I say to you dear reader, if you haven’t read the first book, A Discovery of Witches, and you think you will, don’t read this yet. I recommend you just go right to reading it or you can read My Review of A Discovery of Witches. I have no doubt if you enjoy the first one at all you’ll have to read the second. By all means if you’ve read the first and are still unsure, then read on! Or please if you’ve read them both or the whole trilogy and want to discuss your thoughts and feelings read on and let’s chat. I’d love to hear how you thought it worked or what didn’t. However, PLEASE do not spoil book three for me!

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Okay, some basic spoilers to follow…

This book got saucy with the romance, which we knew it had to but not being a regular romance reader it made me blush. While the author went there with the intimacy I don’t think she overdid it. The scenes weren’t long and drawn out and many times they concluded or started with other bits of useful information. I really appreciate that about a writer, when they don’t box a scene up to serve one purpose. If you don’t like romance or reading about intimacy AT ALL, you’ll probably get more than a little annoyed. That being said, Diana and Matthew’s relationship is central to this story so, pick your battles. Oh and for those of you that might be triggered, there are a couple aggressively passionate love scenes between Matthew & Diana. They’re not abusive or unwanted, they’re just…intense to say the least. If you ask me, regardless how you feel about love scenes, the overall story is worth it. The scenes are at least PG-13 – R-rated, but don’t quote me on that.

Traveling back in time as we did was really interesting. I wondered how it would work out and if it would. Harkness did not disappoint with her research and ability to make it work in a natural way even though time travel is so unfortunately unnatural. Spoiler: she did not force the concept of hiding it from everyone. Lesser or less experienced (pardon me) authors might try and make you believe no one noticed Diana was out of place. You don’t just slip back into the 16th century unnoticed. Nope, not Harkness, she works with and through that. The other characters’ responses to such details are great.

Now, do I think this book had to be 584 pages? No. It would not have suffered from leaving some more pages on the cutting room floor. At least halfway through the book you might be feeling like you’re more than ready to move on from time traveling. There were at least a few places where they mentioned going back to the…future/present and I got excited for a change of pace. Alas it did not yet come. But that’s not to say the time spent in the past was full of the same monotonous routine. Not at all. A lot happens in 1590-1, interesting twists and turns full of creepy people. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot we could have skipped.

That’s probably my biggest critique besides Deborah Harkness’ love for lots of setting and time period details, not my favorite. If I liked this amount of detail than she deserves a high five. 😉

This book is full of emotion. There’s so much going on what with Matthew returning to a past he once knew, people he once knew and loved. We get to dive into his vulnerability and watch him fight to unfold, unfold and then come back together again. The relationship with his father Phillipe is very special, never mind that Phillipe himself is a well-written, nuanced character. I do hope they personify him well in the TV series because he’s so iconic. It would be an enormous shame should they miss the mark. We meet a lot of other great characters, including Matthew’s nephew Gallowglass. The characters alone are a great reason to read this book.

This book really gives us a chance to get to know Matthew better. Plus I really enjoyed getting a better look at the history of witches, vampires, and daemons. The traditions and ceremonies were fun, sometimes drawn out, but still interesting.

Lastly…

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I want to address something I saw people complaining about in the first book: Matthew’s dominant, aggressive personality and behaviors. It seemed his character got the feminists all riled up. Don’t forget that Diana is more than attracted to Matthew, she’s wildly in love with him, all of him. She’s more than capable of handling herself and is in no way an unwilling participant or victim here. I am not implying that whatever he does is made okay because she loves him. Nor am I saying that love somehow makes abuse okay. I’m also not saying that a woman who can handle herself can’t be abused. All I’m saying is keep it in the context of the story. Diana is not abused or taken advantage of by Matthew. But there are OTHER people who abuse and physically harm Diana, as we saw in the first book.

It’s not okay to hurt or (try to) control another person, whether you’re a man, woman or child. It’s also important to be able to distinguish an abusive person from a personality you just don’t care for. Masculinity is not toxic, but not unlike femininity, it can be.

Deborah Harkness didn’t create a chauvinistic prick in Matthew. No, she created a 1,500+ year old alpha male vampire with heavy emphasis on the fact that he is a predator, and I mean predator as in the animal kingdom, not a sexual predator. Matthew is very cognizant of his domineering behavior and worries about the parts of him that make him dangerous. In the first book you discover that he is avoiding being intimate with her. He’s worried about the possessive nature of a vampire once they take a mate. I get it if the aggression triggers you and any trauma you may have experienced, and for that I’m sorry if you have those experiences. I’m very sorry if you or anyone you care for has been affected by abuse and/or violence of any kind. It’s never acceptable for anyone to be taken or used in any way against their will. I do not condone violent masculinity and I’m not supporting it here. But there’s a difference between highly masculine men and abusive masculinity. However that is NOT what is happening in this story with Diana and Matthew. His over-protectiveness is not the abusive kind; he has EVERY right to be worried about and for her. His behavior cannot be taken out of context. And lest you forget, Diana more than handles herself when she thinks people MIGHT being pushing her around.

Diana and Matthew’s relationship is not an abusive one. While there are elements that might trigger you, kept in the context of the story, you will see that there is a real relationship of love and compassion. And let me tell you, Diana does more than what she wants. There are more than plenty of instances where Diana will annoy you because she doesn’t listen and just goes and does what she wants. Trust that Diana very much her own woman no matter.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments, but not your book three spoilers. 😉 If you read this based on my referral please give me a shout out on your blog and link back to me here. I will start reading Book 3, The Book of Life, immediately following so stay tuned for my review of that in the next couple weeks. Then I’ll give watching the AMC TV series a try, although I’ll tell you right now, I don’t like their pick for Matthew.

Thank you! If you want to read more of my reviews, CLICK HERE.

You can also see what I’m reading at 2019 TBR

Or what I plan to read soon Spring 2019 TBR

WWW Wednesday: 24 April 2019

Thanks Howling Libraries for your Wednesday meme post!

WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where they revived it after its former host MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To participate you answer the 3 W’s (on Wednesday):

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

And of course I’ll link back to the host (click the link above) as well as link back to the blogger I first saw participating in this (the link to Howling Libraries). Finally I’ll post my link back to me on the host’s page! Yeah, go networking! Should you decide to participate then that’s what ya do. 😀

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What I’m Currently Reading:

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Okay guys, don’t make any faces. No, that’s fine, make faces or what have you. Lol. Still reading the non-fiction (well it’s been a minute since I picked it up to be honest) My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. So much to do so little time I kind of forgot about this investigation into all things anxiety. Whoops…

Do I even mention Everfair by Nisi Shawl? Ugh, I haven’t picked it up in ages. I have by default DNF’d this I think it’s fair to say. I keep swearing that I’m going to finish it because I got as far as I did but every time I think about it it feels like a homework assignment. I guess I feel bad because this is inspired by real historical events, it’s an awesome concept and she’s a good writer. It’s an alternate history/historical fantasy/steampunk novel (that sounds cool by itself right?) about the Belgian occupation in the Congo. Here’s part of the Goodreads’ synopsis:

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Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.”

Now fast forward to discovering the narrative structure makes reading more difficult and disengaging than intriguing and engaging. Connecting with the characters was not so easily done and the story itself felt disjointed and lacking. But I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this! It has not been exciting as I thought it would be. So as of right now I’m going to DNF this book although I’ll let it linger on Goodreads.

Moving on…

I’m more than half way through Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness. This is a big book in my world, 584 pages, but it’s pretty awesome. I loved the first one, A Discovery of Witches, and even got my

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Great Aunt reading it. She just asked me the other day if she could get book two as she would be finished with #1 soon. I was maybe a quarter in so

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she’s going to have to wait but I’ve turned up the reading especially considering the Goodreads group I’m in is reading this this month as well. I’d like to join some discussions.

This paranormal fantasy with some historical fiction going on as well as some saucy romance is well-written though very long what with all the setting descriptions (I do believe the author has a thing for historic buildings) among others. Let me just add that the romance gets turned up a bit in this book. 😉 There’s a large cast of characters but Diana (witch) and Matthew (vampire) are our main protagonists engaging in forbidden love, as adults. If you haven’t read A Discovery of Witches that might be a tad of a spoiler although it probably wouldn’t take you long to guess they’d

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hook up. I won’t say much more but I plan to use this book in a post about reading as a writer and how this story works. Deborah Harkness crafts a great story here with plenty of activity and intrigue, mystery and twists. I’ll finish this before the month is up and probably read the third book, The Book of Life, in May.

What I Recently Finished Was:

I finished this a couple weeks ago now, I know I know I owe you a review and I promised it would be forthcoming. Well folks I’m behind, so let’s just say you’ll get it this week. While I enjoyed this book I was a little disappointed. I would recommend it should you like what you read in the synopsis or if you liked the Queens of Renthia trilogy by this author. But I don’t think it lived up to the hype, at least not for me. I’m sitting between 3 – 3.5 stars, so it’s still good there’s just some specific things that kind of drove me nuts.

And since I haven’t done WWW Wednesday in forever I want to add the book I finished before The Deepest Blue, which was The Honours by Tim Clare. His new book The Ice House is coming out in early May, really looking forward to that. Tim is a podcaster I follow and now an author I also follow. I do recommend you check out his work as well as my review.

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What Will I Read Next?

Next up is The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan. This is the third book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, a very interesting fantasy series

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imagining a world with not only dragons but many different species of dragons. I’ve got all five books so know you’ll be hearing a bit about this series for the rest of the season.

I’ll also be starting The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present and Women Wartime Spies, both books from my post Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering books.

In addition I’ll be rereading Nnedi Okorafor’s The Book of Phoenix.

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Stay tuned for my May TBR (don’t think I ever posted an April TBR!) and plans for May. I do have my Spring 2019 TBR if you want to look a little farther into the future of what I plan to read. Then you can say oh yeah I do want to follow eLPy because I’m interested to hear about… 😉 And check out my 2019 TBR to look even farther in to the future. Expect updates!

I’ve got my mind on some writing based posts that I’m looking forward to writing, including Writer’s Block is Not A Thing. If you already disagree with me, great let’s discuss! So keep your eyes open for that post and see what I have to say. You never know, you just might agree with me after all.

Until next time this is what I’ve got for you for WWW Wednesday. If you read Everfair let me know what you think please. Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, because she certainly deserves credit for her writing talent. And what about the others? Have you read the All Souls Trilogy? Did you love it? Do you know there’s a TV series that just premiered some weeks ago? I haven’t seen any of it because I don’t want to yet, at least not until I’ve finished book two. I’ll probably even wait until I’ve finished the whole trilogy.

Okay folks, I’m out for now. Thanks for reading my WWW Wednesday!

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Here’s What’s Up Catch Up!

Hello everyone and welcome to a new week! Now I know I’m supposed to do Here’s What’s Up posts on Saturday (cause I said I would) and today is Monday. But meh, I made the rules here so sometimes I break them. I’ve been missing some posts these last few weeks and not talking to ya all too much but I’m here!

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What’s there to say? First, spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Season 7 (the last one) of Game of Thrones or any for that matter. I saw the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere Sunday night after watching the last two episodes from last season. Man, that battle scene with the Night King and the dragons? Oh lord, I had goosebumps, still can’t believe that happened. As for last night I think it was a good start to what’s bound to be a great season, I mean it’s got to be if it’s the last right? Although I would have liked to see a little more reaction out of everybody when Bran said they’ve got your dragon and it’s one of them. They looked like oh shit and then we moved on. What! Come on you know that would blow your mind.

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Disclaimer by the way, I have not read any of the books. But this epic story is just that, epic. It is a fantastic example of good storytelling. And I love how there is such a diverse cast of characters. We weave in and out of their lives, watching them build, fail and rebuild. All along the way George R.R. Martin and the screenwriters build us up to little pitfalls or triumphs and enormous crescendos and destruction. It’s like you’re watching a real story line in history. My partner said he had to remind himself that this all didn’t really happen, that they never killed that dragon with just one toss of a spear, sending him plummeting onto the ice and into the lake. Gosh…that was too much! There is no one villain or one good guy, and how knows what’s going to happen next because Martin seems to love to “kill his darlings” as they say in writing. Hats off to George R.R. Martin and the production crew behind Game of Thrones! I could do without ALL the nudity but it’s still epic and well deserving of its popularity.

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Okay what else? Here’s What’s Up with Saturday night Boxing. (Another spoiler to follow regarding boxing match Saturday night.) Well I also watched a great fight between two awesome women boxers, Claressa Shields versus Christina Hammer. You might recall that Shields is an Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing and hails from Flint, Michigan. She won gold medals in both the 2012 & 2016 Olympics. She’s the first male or female boxer to win consecutive Olympic medals. She’s also only the 6th boxer, male or female, to hold all four major world titles in boxing. And she just turned 24 this March so she was 17 years old when she won her first Olympic gold in women’s boxing.

Christina Hammer is a very worthy opponent born in Kazakhstan but relocated to Germany soon after her birth. She’s a “multiple-time world champion in two weight classes” and has been named Fighter of the Year and Female Boxer of the Year and won the WBO Diamond Ring for Exceptional Performance.

I wasn’t prepared for Shields to beat Hammer so decisively, I really thought it would be more of a battle between the two. Don’t get me wrong Hammer held up and didn’t exactly do nothing but as the announcers and my partner were saying, she didn’t fight her fight, she fought Shields’ fight. At the end of the night Hammer was looking a little bit stunned by what had just happened herself and Shields was a damn proud woman. Hats off to them both! I hope they have succeeded in catapulting women’s boxing to a new level because they were great to watch. Women’s boxing deserves a lot more attention than it gets. It would be great to see even more qualified fighters in the ring on a regular basis. I would like to see a rematch between these two although I don’t know if it’s in the cards. And come on, Shields vs Hammer, even the title is cool!

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Here’s What’s Up with my Reading

In the world of books, I finished The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst. I will most certainly have a review for you tomorrow but I can say now that while I was really excited to LOVE this book I mostly just liked it. I’m a fan of Durst’s and I really enjoyed her Queens of Renthia series but this stand alone book set on the Islands of Belene, another part of the world Renthia, missed the mark just left of center for me. It was still a worthy read, and I will continue to follow Durst. In fact I really hope she keeps exploring other parts of Renthia and even Belene. But the story itself kind of fell flat. There’s exciting and interesting parts however there were some crucial details that felt like repeats. I’ll tell you more in my review but let’s just say I think I’m giving this 3.5 stars.

I bumped this and some other books up my Spring TBR because I need an ebook to read while I’m on my spin bike or in other instances where reading from my device is just easier than reading an actual book. Have you seen the hardcover edition of Shadow of Night? Very soon I’ll be starting The Voyage of the Basilisk. But first, I just started reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness because that’s the book myself and others voted to read in April for the Goodreads group I’m a member of. This second book in the All Souls Trilogy is almost 600 pages long so I need to get reading it! Know then that The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan is up next.

When I look at my TBR on Goodreads I feel so crazy because I want to read so many books like now but I do not have THAT kind of time. Oh well, a girl can dream… In the meantime I’m super stoked because I’ve been doing some impressive brainstorming for my novel. Tonight I plan to start putting these ideas to work on paper. (I brainstorm a lot into a voice recorder. It’s great fun talking to yourself. :D) Writing is an intense act to undertake let me tell you. I have decided to delete a character which means – oh my gosh – I’m going to have to delete a bunch of words I’ve already put together about her. I’ve also found a whole new direction to take things in.

The nature of my story has changed and it feels so right to me! But there’s so much juggling to do. One thing I’m practicing that’s helping me immensely is just getting some thoughts out to see how they look and feel and what branches off of them before I butcher and beat them. I have a heavy handed inner editor and she tries to stop nearly everything before it even comes out of my brain. Well she is getting put in her MF’n place, let me tell you.

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There you have it, Here’s What’s Up With Me! Game of Thrones, Boxing: Shields v. Hammer, The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst, Voyage of the Basilisk, Shadow of Night, and write write write! Woo! Can you tell I’m excited? Oh my gosh I almost forgot that I also got the ebook for The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli, Iscari Book 2. I really enjoyed the first one and this book got bumped up my 2019 TBR to Spring TBR because, like I said, I need some ebooks.

How about you? Do you watch GOT? Did you? What about boxing? Will you now? I tell ya you should check these women out, they are bad asses.

And how’s your reading going? Have you read The Deepest Blue? Voyage of the Basilisk? Shadow of Night? The Caged Queen? Let me know what you think because I would love to have a chat.

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Spring 2019 TBR

Thank you Destiny @ Howling Libraries for your Spring TBR post. You inspired and motivated me to break my 2019 TBR down further into seasonal TBRs. It seems a strange thing to say this but gosh it’s almost hard to pin myself down, to commit to reading certain books within a certain time! Most of the time I base what I’m reading off spontaneous thoughts and feelings. I see a book, on my shelf or a shelf (or in my Kindle), and say okay that’s next or that’s now.

However as a book blogger and a blogger period I do think it helps to let my audience know what’s coming up in case you want to read along with me or follow me to stay tuned for a review. First I broke my Goodreads TBR down to my current 2019 TBR. And now I’m going to break that down to this here Spring TBR, in no particular order. Which, disclaimer, may be subject to change. 😉 Feel free to post your comments at the end. Thank you!

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This first title, Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, is a book I found at Books and Tea with Brittany. Brittany is an Australian blogger I just found and mentions this book is by Aborginal authors. It sounds really interesting, a woman has died and her father a detective is the only one who can see her and together they work to solve a mystery. Follow the above link to read the full synopsis on Goodreads.

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The Deepest Blue By Sarah Beth Durst JUST came out, and I even more JUST got my copy. This is a standalone continuation of the Tales of Renthia. Prior to this book there was the Queens of Renthia trilogy that I read and enjoyed very much last year. So it’s with great joy I heard about this from Mrs. Durst’s page, a story set in another part of the same world. Yeah!

Oh and I read the book Lost and loved it by this author but the rest of the trilogy apparently isn’t forthcoming after all. However we may have reason to believe that series will be put to TV or movie. Oh my gosh, let’s hope so! That was a great book and I really wish they would have published the rest of the trilogy/series.

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Another trilogy I’m very happy to be reading. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness is the second in the All Souls Trilogy. The first was A Discovery of Witches. Kind of a big book but it was well worth it. In fact I just lent the book to my Great Aunt, let’s see if she likes it! I’m not a Twilight fan so if you also aren’t don’t get worried when I say witches, vampires, daemons and more. We’ve got ancient magic, a witch discovering her powers and why is everyone so obsessed with her? There’s some romance here – not a romance reader myself – and it works for me, well at least the first book. This is also a book that they’re going to be reading in the Goodreads’ group Bookworm Bitches in April. I’ll be reading this along with them.

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If you’ve read any of my other posts yet you might know I’m going to be reading this very soon, like this week. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan is the third book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I recently finished The Tropic of Serpents #2, click to learn more. Imagine reading a journal of sorts about a woman in a different, though similar, world long ago studying dragons around the world. You can bet I’ll be reading this entire series (I think there’s five total.) I’ll also be following the author in the future.

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The Honours by Tim Clare is a fantasy book I just started, well like a week ago. I follow his podcast about writing, Death of A Thousand Cuts, and wanted to give his writing a shot. This is the first book, a sequel is to follow this May. My plan is to finish this, hopefully love it, and pre-order his second book, The Ice House, and provide a fellow author the much-needed support.

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Binti – Home by Nnedi Okorafor is the second book in this trilogy. This science fiction story started with Binti (my review here) which was a short and great read about a young lady leaving her home for a distinguished university on another planet. But of course, it’s not that simple, things go real wrong. Original, creative, beautiful story. Can’t wait. This one’s a little longer but 176 pages, not long. I’ve also read – forget I read it years ago and re-added to my TBR – Book of Phoenix by Nnedi and became a fan of hers then. You can expect to hear about more from this author.

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The Night Masquerade is the final book in this trilogy. Little big longer than the first two but still short at about 200 or so pages. Definitely plan to finish this series this spring.

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Women Wartime Spies by Ann Kramer is a book I’ve had in my personal library for a LONG time. I wrote about this and other such books in the post Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books. Check it out.

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I’m currently reading My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. This is a sort of academic non-fiction that I’m slowly picking my way through. It’s very interesting and well-researched. He not only shares his own experience with mental illness but looks into the history and research surrounding anxiety disorders. Check it out if you’re curious.

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Yes I’m still reading this. Ugh, these last few weeks have not been good reading weeks. But Everfair by Nisi Shawl will hopefully be finished this week. I’m including it here because it’s spring and I’m currently reading this, so I think it makes sense to add it to my Spring TBR. I will say if you haven’t read it here already, I’m not loving this book and have fought to finish instead of DNF. Stay tuned for my review.

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Yes I will be re-reading this as I recently realized that I have in fact read this book a couple years ago. Imagine that. That means I came across Binti having forgotten I’ve already read from this author! Lol, oh dear. I do remember that I really liked this book and I think I owe it a re-read even though reading books more than once is not really my thing. But The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor is an awesome book.

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Another book my from Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books series. The Greek Poets – Homer to the Present is a behemoth I will start reading this spring, maybe I’ll finish or maybe I won’t until summer. Either way I’m going to pick at this slowly with no rush to finish.

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Here we have another from Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering books. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. It’s about time and perfect for the season to read about a woman in science with a love for plants. Right up my alley.

Wow, I feel so limited to have to stop and yet I’m not a fast reader! When I think about how much time I actually have, what with work and writing my novel, this is an ambitious list for the next couple of months. I want to add more just because I get excited thinking about reading books but I have to be realistic. Besides, I’d rather be like oh my gosh people, I read alllllllllllllll those and here’s another. LOL! Or maybe they’ll bleed over into summer. Whatever the case, this is going to be a good season for bookish adventures.

Stay tuned for my more detailed April plans or go back and check out March Plans, whatever makes you happy.

I’d love to know if you’re reading any of these books or plan to. Now don’t go spoiling anything for me but I still want to hear your thoughts. What about your Spring list, are we similar? Not at all, no way? Do you think I’m crazy for trying to read all these or maybe you’re more crazy than me? Come on, comment, let’s share notes.

Please like and comment if you enjoy my posts. Absolutely please do follow me if you want to keep up and stay tuned. I post reviews shortly after I finish books and I’m posting monthly plans so you have a better idea of what’s coming up.